Mobile game developers are now boycotting Unity by switching off its ad products, mobilegamer.biz can reveal.

The group is trying to force Unity into cancelling its proposed Runtime Fee policy.

At the time of publication, 16 different studios have pulled their Unity and IronSource ads: Azur Games, Voodoo, Homa, Century Games, SayGames, CrazyLabs, Original Games, Ducky, Burny Games, Inspired Square, Geisha Tokyo, tatsumaki games, KAYAC, New Story, Playgendary and Supercent.

Collective letter from game development companies: Turning off all IronSource and Unity Ads monetization until new conditions are reviewed

We are the collective voice of the game development industry—developers, game designers, artists, and business minds. Passionate about our craft, we’ve invested years in shaping an industry that touches the lives of millions worldwide. As stakeholders, we cannot remain silent when a decision threatens to destabilize this ecosystem.

Unity has been an instrumental force in this industry. In many ways, it has inspired us to create new immersive worlds and empowered a plethora of dynamic and independent developers to bring their visions to life. We’ve played our part in this journey, moving the industry forward and creating specialists that use Unity as the primary game engine for their projects.

We’ve hosted Unity-centered events, shared our knowledge, and crafted educational content that’s inspired an international community. Thanks to this symbiosis, Unity has evolved into a cornerstone of game development and is now established as an indispensable asset in game creation.

That’s why the September 12 announcement hits us hard. Effective January 1, 2024, Unity plans to introduce installation-dependent fees, a decision that jeopardizes small and large game developers alike, made without any industry consultation. To claim, as Unity has, that this new ‘Runtime Fee’ will impact only 10% of the industry is not just misleading, it’s patently false.

We strongly oppose this move, which disregards the unique challenges and complexities of our industry.

While we’ve always viewed our work as a collaborative effort, this decision blindsided us. With one stroke of the pen, you’ve put hundreds of studios at risk, all without consultation or dialogue.

To put it in relatable terms—what if automakers suddenly decided to charge us for every mile driven on the car that you bought a year ago? The impact on consumers and the industry at large would be seismic.

This comes at a time when the industry is already grappling with tightening profit margins, heightened competition, and escalating costs in both development and marketing. This isn’t just about developers. This impacts artists, designers, marketers, and producers. It’s a cascade that could lead to the shuttering of companies that have given their all to this industry.

Unity, we’ve stood by and celebrated your every innovation. Why, then, were we left out of the conversation on a decision so monumental?

As a course of immediate action, our collective of game development companies is forced to turn off all IronSource and Unity Ads monetization across our projects until these changes are reconsidered.

We urge others who share this stance to do the same. The rules have changed, and the stakes are simply too high. The Runtime Fee is an unacceptable shift in our partnership with Unity that needs to be immediately canceled.

We entered this industry for the love of game development, but what makes it truly special is the community—a community built on openness, shared expertise, and collective progress.

If you share our sentiment, we call on you to join us. Turn off all IronSource and Unity Ads monetization until a fair and equitable resolution is found.

You can also back the movement by signing our open letter. Check out the link to add your voice to the cause.

Sincerely,

Azur Games, Voodoo, Homa, Century Games, SayGames, CrazyLabs, Original Games, Ducky, Burny Games, Inspired Square, Geisha Tokyo, tatsumaki games, KAYAC, New Story, Playgendary, Supercent

…and all who sign this letter, engage in other forms of protest, or simply stand in solidarity with the gaming industry

    • @echo64
      link
      fedilink
      English
      835 months ago

      ‘cutting ties and moving on’ would require a total rebuild of their games in a new engine. it doesn’t really work that way.

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        English
        295 months ago

        They’re going to try this bullshit again, or in another manner. Maybe having everything centralized onto a proprietary single point of failure isn’t a great idea.

        Cutting ties and moving on is the right answer.

        • @echo64
          link
          fedilink
          English
          265 months ago

          No one wants this situation, but the reality is that you can not switch from one engine to another engine without rebuilding the product. This is true for every game development company on the planet, this is how the industry is.

          we can sit and laugh at that and call them stupid for building an entire multi-billion dollar industry on this, or we can understand the realities of the whole thing.

          • @[email protected]
            link
            fedilink
            English
            13
            edit-2
            5 months ago

            I’m not calling anyone stupid or laughing.

            The reality is they’ve shown their hand.

            Why anyone would continue to do business with them is insane to me. You’re setting yourself up for future failure.

            Sure, it’s not easy to switch engines; is this going to change in the future? I doubt it, so this is only delaying the inevitable.

            • @echo64
              link
              fedilink
              English
              135 months ago

              Why anyone would continue to do business with them is insane to me.

              1. you have a mature stack built entirely on the engine, that stacks the only thing that powers your companies revenue, if that stack did not exist then you would fold quickly
              2. you probably have an entire company of experts in this engine, an deep knowledge-base that you are throwing away if you move away, your ability to have speed and agility is likely crippled until you get up to speed anywhere else. good luck affording to pay for that monumental shift in your company. 3, almost all the talent in the industry (at your level) is on unity engine, good luck hiring for $obscure_engine

              basically, it’s incredibly naive to just say “just switch, obviously they are bad, they will be bad in the future too so switch”. it shows deep ignorance. it’s worth trying to understand the situation before saying any of this stuff.

              • @[email protected]
                link
                fedilink
                English
                55 months ago

                I’m saying that whole production concept is flawed. You’re at the mercy of a single company. You don’t need to explain it further than that. You’ve centralized and specialized too much. It’s naive to assume they aren’t going to squeeze developers again.

                Good luck to those who stay on Unity, you’re going to have a similar issue later down the line until they wear you out.

                • @[email protected]
                  link
                  fedilink
                  English
                  55 months ago

                  That is just reductionism. The post above yours went above and beyond to explain why they can’t just change the engine. For a lot of business it would mean bankruptcy now. So you understand that given the choice between bankruptcy now or maybe being squeezed again by Unity later, the latter is still more an attractive option, right?

                  • @[email protected]
                    link
                    fedilink
                    English
                    -35 months ago

                    Lose your business now or lose it later, what’s the difference? Unity is basically behaving like the mafia. The installation fee is protection money. Fuck 'em.

                  • @[email protected]
                    link
                    fedilink
                    English
                    -45 months ago

                    They’ve got you perfectly situated for exploitation. You’re rationalizing sticking with an abusive partner.

              • @[email protected]
                link
                fedilink
                English
                55 months ago

                This isn’t a normal scenario/ situation. This is an all hands on deck emergency, worst case situation. You cannot continue with unity under any circumstances. This is a pivot moment with unity endangering your whole existence, as well as showing their obsolescence. Anybody that sticks with unity now is setting themselves up for failure. This installation charge isn’t just bad for developers/ businesses, but consumers as well and consumers will need to avoid unity games. Unless you’re a dev or really into gaming, most people probably couldn’t even tell you what a game engine is or what their favorite games’ are built in. This will now force them to be conscience of unity games and to avoid them.

          • @[email protected]
            link
            fedilink
            English
            45 months ago

            The fact that it’s impossible to change game on an ongoing/completed game is exactly the reason why everyone is angry. This is distortion, simple, just like the example of car being charged for miles mentioned in the article. It’s no coincidence that games are advertised as “built on …” since game engine decides how the game is built.

            • @[email protected]
              link
              fedilink
              English
              25 months ago

              The thing is that switching engines isn’t impossible, it is just an extreme amount of work.

              The sad reality is that sometimes projects aren’t meant to last, most don’t even reach fruition. And I know it can be a hard pill to swallow, but it is sometimes necessary to rebuild an entire project, or drop it completely.

              Whether that necessity is valid depends entirely on the developer.

        • StarServal
          link
          fedilink
          12
          edit-2
          5 months ago

          “Oops, we ratcheted up the heat too fast. We’ll need to do it again slower so the frogs don’t notice.”

      • @Potatos_are_not_friends
        link
        fedilink
        English
        165 months ago

        Every company I worked in always had a plan B.

        Being fully under the whims of a service is how companies die. And unity is going to put a financial stranglehold on so many businesses. So really if they aren’t planning to cut ties, they won’t survive in a few years.

        • @Katana314
          link
          fedilink
          English
          105 months ago

          I’ve felt this same way about content creators complaining about YouTube. It’s far too risky to develop your life plan around a particular company continuing their service.

          • @[email protected]
            link
            fedilink
            English
            55 months ago

            Most channels have a patreon because of that reason. Better to have the fans support you than whatever new monetization model YouTube comes up with. (No bad words in the first minute, reviewers have to play movies flipped so they won’t be copyright struck, ads can do whatever they want but if you make a video talking about said ads only using those ads you guessed it demonetized). Google (alphabet)is an empire at this point and we need the government to create a new branch of government to handle online businesses because our 80+ year old representatives came understand that Mark Zuckerberg has nothing to do with iPhones.

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        English
        65 months ago

        Rip the band aid now. Stop all development in unity. Unity has shown that it’s obsolete.

        • @echo64
          link
          fedilink
          English
          25 months ago

          Who’s going to pay salary for the year plus of retooling and retraining? You?

            • @echo64
              link
              fedilink
              English
              15 months ago

              The companies will if they choose to, it’ll be a massive hit it’ll stop them coming to subscription services, it’ll stop them coming to cloud services, it’ll stop demos and free weekends, it’ll probably hinder experimentation and early access. But the companies can eak out a way of surviving.

              Which they can’t without revenue because they downed tools for a few years to retool on something entirely new

            • AngryMob
              link
              fedilink
              English
              15 months ago

              The company making enough money to trigger said fees?

              I dont support this new structure, but its not like these fees are attacking game companies which have no profits

    • LanternEverywhere
      link
      fedilink
      23
      edit-2
      5 months ago

      You can’t just cut ties in this scenario. These games are already built on the unity engine, it’s not feasible to rebuild it again on a totally different engine, and now unity is going to apply new fees to all these already existing games.

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        English
        75 months ago

        Can’t just pay these ridiculous fees either, I have no belief that Unity will back track in any way here unfortunately

      • @WhiskyTangoFoxtrot
        link
        fedilink
        English
        75 months ago

        If the heat dies down then devs will have time to finish their current projects and switch to new engines for the next ones. Even a temporary walk-back would be enough to prevent disaster for a lot of studios.